Barkat forms initial city council coalition without haredim

Jerusalem Mayor-elect Nir Barkat has formed an initial city council coalition without the two major haredi parties, although he seeks to add them to his coalition in the near future, his spokesman said Thursday. The incoming mayor's difficulty in forming a wall-to-wall coalition which will include the haredi parties stems primarily due to the limited number of deputies he can appoint in a city council which has an abundance of small parties who are all demanding such highly-paid positions. The day after his election victory this month, Barkat had said that he would like the haredi parties to join his coalition, even though, with Zionist parties making up 19 of the 31 city council seats, he can form a coalition without them.